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  1. #1

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    taiji pushhands & boxing

    Since it's pretty quiet and no-one has anybody to flame at the moment, I thought I'd add a target.... :P

    I was introduced a while ago to taiji pushhands and the person talked about this as an exercise for learning how to 'neutralize' (parry?) incoming punches & such. This seems like an exciting prospect, but then I got to thinking of the two semesters of boxing I took back at college, and started doubting a little bit. I remember getting my clock cleaned by incoming jabs & crosses (I seemed to do better against hooks for some reason) that were so fast that if one wasn't already set up to catch them in one's gloves, that the only recourse was to take them on the forearm or try to lean offline from them. So the "flamebait" question is: can taiji neutralization handle western boxing's straight punches?

    I specifically don't intend a general taiji vs. boxing question, just specifically the neutralization issue.

    :)

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimDesu View Post
    So the "flamebait" question is: can taiji neutralization handle western boxing's straight punches?
    the term "neutralize" has a specific meaning in taijiquan. it refers to neutralize incoming force like from pushing by redirect it.
    incoming boxing punches - I don't think so.

    also, there are other exercises in push hands, like "block", "swallow", "cover", "lock", "elbow" etc.

    pushing hands is a nice exercise, some things can be gained out of it, still, it's no substitute for sparring.

  3. #3
    Scott Larson's Avatar
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    Push hands is a very generic term. To put it simply it would help you if your push hands partner was punching you.

    I'll let Rivington, or one of those other smart guys give a more in depth explanation.

  4. #4
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    I'd say that learning to catch a jab with your right hand properly has elements of neutralization as seen in push hands. However, tai chi taught me something that is actually counterproductive for boxing: push hands teaches you to extend your arms, drop your shoulders, straighten your spine and expand your stance. Each one of these things can be exploited by someone who's a boxer. In fact these are some of the things that people do when they're being overwhelmed by punches, when in fact you have to learn to tuck in closer and crouch a bit. Push hands will also not teach the head motion necessary for defending the punches of a fast puncher. I know that I'm getting away from the neutralization issue, but you can't really look at it in a vacuum. Unless the tai chi guy is comfortable with fast punches coming at him, he's not going to be able to neutralize them. Most tai chi push hands players don't spar that way. In fact, fixed step and moving step push hands are likely their only sparring (I've known exactly two senior tai chi players that actually encouraged striking, kicking etc into their push hands, and a lot of the other tai chi folks thought that those guys were missing some philosophical point or something even though these were the most senior students).

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by CodosDePiedra View Post
    In fact, fixed step and moving step push hands are likely their only sparring (I've known exactly two senior tai chi players that actually encouraged striking, kicking etc into their push hands, and a lot of the other tai chi folks thought that those guys were missing some philosophical point or something even though these were the most senior students).
    Wow, I must be missing that point too, 'cuz doing it with punches was my very first thought. But then again, I tend to look like a human pez dispenser when boxing, so maybe that's just my "I SUCK!" talking. :D

  6. #6
    Permalost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimDesu View Post
    Wow, I must be missing that point too, 'cuz doing it with punches was my very first thought. But then again, I tend to look like a human pez dispenser when boxing, so maybe that's just my "I SUCK!" talking. :D
    Keep in mind that at most tai chi classes out there (at least the ones I've seen) are full of old people who want to get some exercise without hurting themselves. I commend the ones that just do push hands, because at least they're doing some live training instead of just slowly moving around. An aunt of mine is a tai chi instructor, and she had never done push hands before I showed her, and didn't know any of the fighting applications to the moves in the form. Consequently, her form was very off from my perspective. It seems a lot of the tai chi community does things in this way. Her daughter started studying kung fu and tai chi where I used to teach, and I've been showing her some push hands tricks on the side so she can take on my old students (I've been showing her specific strategies against specific people that I used to play with). I feel that push hands shines in dealing with someone who's trying to muscle you around, not punch you, and conversely boxing shines when it comes to someone with a clue trying to punch you.

  7. #7
    It is Fake's Avatar
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    You have to make sure the push hands is correctly taught. It is no more alive, in the wrong hands, as qigong exercises or chi sau. Most push hands in America is not taught like this:
    YouTube- Yiquan pushing hands competition
    YouTube- Tuishou Competition in Wenxian

    Rarely is it ever taught in a good manner that helps deal with what you described.
    Last edited by It is Fake; 8/13/2010 11:04am at .

  8. #8
    Sri Hanuman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CodosDePiedra View Post
    I'd say that learning to catch a jab with your right hand properly has elements of neutralization as seen in push hands. However, tai chi taught me something that is actually counterproductive for boxing: push hands teaches you to extend your arms, drop your shoulders, straighten your spine and expand your stance. Each one of these things can be exploited by someone who's a boxer. In fact these are some of the things that people do when they're being overwhelmed by punches, when in fact you have to learn to tuck in closer and crouch a bit. Push hands will also not teach the head motion necessary for defending the punches of a fast puncher. I know that I'm getting away from the neutralization issue, but you can't really look at it in a vacuum. Unless the tai chi guy is comfortable with fast punches coming at him, he's not going to be able to neutralize them. Most tai chi push hands players don't spar that way. In fact, fixed step and moving step push hands are likely their only sparring (I've known exactly two senior tai chi players that actually encouraged striking, kicking etc into their push hands, and a lot of the other tai chi folks thought that those guys were missing some philosophical point or something even though these were the most senior students).
    Bingo.
    While the Taiji classics and the general Taiji theory probably have enough material to allow for these boxing tactics (i.e. hands up, shoulders up, cover up,) I've yet to see a strictly Taiji guy do well against a well rounded boxer. Literally. I've never seen it. There's probably a good reason for that.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by It is Fake View Post
    You have to make sure the push hands is correctly taught. It is no more alive, in the wrong hands, as qigong exercises or chi sau. Most push hands in America is not taught like this:
    You're right; I should have prefaced that what I wrote about is push hands as I have learned it. The way I learned push hands was freestyle push hands, learning the two person forms years later, so when I think of push hands, I think of two people trying to push each other without a predetermined attack. Although the term can describe all kinds of drills, we only used it to mean "playing push hands", and drills that prepared for that were just called drills.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CodosDePiedra View Post
    You're right; I should have prefaced that what I wrote about is push hands as I have learned it. The way I learned push hands was freestyle push hands, learning the two person forms years later, so when I think of push hands, I think of two people trying to push each other without a predetermined attack. Although the term can describe all kinds of drills, we only used it to mean "playing push hands", and drills that prepared for that were just called drills.
    Man you were lucky. What's funny is my Mcdojo Shaolin-Do training actually had some of the better push hands mixed in with the BS. I do find that deliciously Ironic.

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